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Redevelopment plan launched for Inverness's 'jewel in the crown' Whin Park play area

By Neil MacPhail

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Whin Park pond before recent draining.
Whin Park pond before recent draining.

THE first steps have been taken towards much needed improvements to Whin Park play area and boating pond on Inverness riverside.

City councillors have approved £10,000 for a feasibility study on the redevelopment of the popular area that has started to show its age recently.

Members agreed to allocate £5,000 from City Ward Budgets and £5,000 Inverness Common Good Funding.

Leader of Inverness and Area Cllr Ian Brown said: “Whin Park is the jewel in the crown of play areas in Highland and serves not only local families but is very popular with visitors from across the region.

“Sadly, the play equipment is nearing the end of its working life. If we do nothing, then it will simply be removed for health and safety bit-by-bit until nothing is left.

“Members have approved a feasibility study to scope out inclusive and sustainable play designs and the potential funding sources that will provide them.”

The study will provide plans for a newly refurbished toilet block; improvements to the shop area; improved pathways and drainage systems; new way-finding signage; a covered outdoor area for users; additional parking and co-ordination with the Riverside Way active travel plans; and improvements to the railway area.

The initial feasibility study will take an estimated three months and it is expected to be completed by March 2023 with the full park re-development targeted to be completed by June 2024, subject to funding.

Members noted that works to drain the Whin Park pond had commenced to enable management and control of an invasive non-native weed species that has been found to be present in the pond.

Consultation with the resident businesses and other park users will be key to making a success of this programme.

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